For almost two years, the rules have been the same: You test positive for COVID, you isolate for at least 10 days. Then came Omicron, new, far more transmissible variant (though, it appears, not as dangerous). Omicron has already led to cancelled or greatly modified events. (And, of course, Fox News was quick to spread misinformation about it, too.) Now the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has made a big change, but it’s not one you’d expect: They’ve cut the recommended isolation time in half.
As per CNN, the CDC has lowered the time an infected person must hide away from the rest of humanity from 10 days to a mere five. There’s a couple caveats. One can flee back to the world only if they no longer have symptoms. If you still have a fever, give it some more time. A mask is also recommended for at least five days. (Though you probably want to wear one anyway, because you’re not a snowflake who gets mad about wearing a little protective covering over one’s mouth. Think of all the other diseases you may be avoid!)
And what if you’ve been exposed to someone you learn has testing positive for COVID? Well, you isolate for the same period of time: five measly days.
“Given what we currently know about COVID-19 and the Omicron variant, CDC is shortening the recommended time for isolation from 10 days for people with COVID-19 to five days, if asymptomatic, followed by five days of wearing a mask when around others,” the organization said in a statement.
What prompted the change? Partly that SARS-CoV-2 transmission tends to occur early on in one’s illness, usually one to two days before symptoms kick in and then for 2 or three days after. That adds up to a charitable five days of removing one’s self from society, so as not to infect others.
The CDC loosened some of their other recommendations, too. If five days of quarantining are not possible, wearing a mask whenever one’s around others should do. However, if you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID and you’re vaccinated and boosted, you don’t need to quarantine at all. But you should still wear a mask. After all, you should probably get used to them for a while still.